Magazine article The Spectator

Rod Liddle: The NHS 'Wellbeing' Monkey Deserves to Die

Magazine article The Spectator

Rod Liddle: The NHS 'Wellbeing' Monkey Deserves to Die

Article excerpt

My young daughter has a furry beaver -- lifelike in all but its eyes, which to me seem cold and dead. I bought it for her in the United States and I think it has pride of place within her impressive menagerie of anthropomorphised cuddly toy animals. There are also countless wolves which we have to hide when her grandmother comes to stay, in case she puts them in a sack and burns them, or just throws them in the garage.

Grandma is an evangelical Christian of a somewhat uncompromising brand and believes that wolves, living or inanimate, are agents of Beelzebub. As, of course, are bats. Incidentally, when the Rapture comes, every member of our family, including Jessie the Dog, will be taken up to heaven for canapés, non-alcoholic cocktails, communal singing and a nice apartment like they have in CenterParcs -- every member except for me. Grandma has blessed -- with olive oil -- the entire family except for Daddy. Apparently, I have to make the decision about being saved for myself.

I do not understand how come Jessie, who is clubbable but extremely stupid, gets in and not me. After all, her ancestors were agents of Beelzebub. It is an apparent paradox which I take up with Grandma from time to time, but I never get anywhere: 'I know what I know, Rod,' she says firmly, and that's an end to it. Jessie's in and I'm out. I don't argue with her about the stuffed wolves, either. In any case, she's not alone -- Richard Dawkins, given a chance, would also stop my daughter playing with stuffed animals, believing it to be a form of speciesism and also deluded: wolves, beavers etc, are not cuddly and supine at all; they are very real independent animals with their own hopes and aspirations and fervent commitments to social justice -- and stuffed effigies of them are demeaning, just like with golliwogs. So Grandma is in impeccably progressive intellectual company -- although I don't think Richard is going to be taken up to the heaven shindig thing either, unless she's blessed him with olive oil secretly. I hope she hasn't: that would be the final straw, frankly.

I don't know what Grandma would make of Monkey Wellbeing. If there was any justice in the world, she'd throw a noose around its neck and hang it from the highest tree. Monkey Wellbeing is a fatuous, smirking, knitted toy monkey which looks nothing like a monkey and is being used in schools to teach kids stuff about health and the NHS. You can tell it's a politically correct idiot of a monkey because it's called Monkey Wellbeing. 'Wellbeing' is one of those nonce words that has been either appropriated or invented by progressives to mean whatever they want it to mean -- like 'grooming' or 'community' or 'resilience'. No decent, normal monkey would wish to be called 'Wellbeing': it's a stupid name. Anyway, this particular stuffed monkey seems to be targeted at the under-sevens as a means of inculcating politically correct propaganda in their delicate minds. …

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